Monday, July 14, 2014

Training for the I-35 Challenge

Okay, you've signed up for the I-35 Challenge. Now how to train. Rather than recreating the wheel and coming up with a whole new training regiment, look at ways to enhance your current training program.

The IMT Des Moines Marathon offers training guides designed for beginning to novice runners with a goal to complete a half marathon or marathon.

The week by week guides offer weekly mileage amounts with a break down of how much to run and on which days of the week. The purpose of the training guide is to build a weekly base, while incorporating a long run distance once a week.

Half Marathon Training Guide
Marathon Training Guide

While training for the I-35 Challenge it may be helpful to consider the following tips so that you can make adjustments to your current training program.

1. Increase your weekly mileage, especially in the 2nd half of the training program. Keeping mind the 10% rule, which suggests the rate of injury increases when more than a 10% increase in weekly mileage is added. For example, if your current training program calls for weekly mileage of 20 miles, consider upping it to 22 miles. Due this every week leading up to race weekend.

Allow for + or - 2 miles or + or - 15 minutes per week on long runs. Give yourself some wiggle room. Over the course of a training program if a couple of miles are missed here or there it should not cause an issue. There is more concern when we are tempted to 'make up' for lost miles by adding too much to the next run on the schedule.

2. Increase the distance of your longest scheduled long run in your training program. For example, if your current program calls for a couple of 20 mile runs, consider running 24 or 26 miles Build up your long runs in 3 consecutive weekends and then make a noticeable drop. For example 20 miles, 22 miles, 26 miles 10 miles.

For most runners the, risks for injury increase markedly at more than 3 hours of running.

3. Try back to back long runs on Saturday and Sunday. Start small such as 4 or 10 mile runs, depending on whether you are running back to back half marathons or marathons, to become accustom to the short or lack of rest period. If you are used to running on Saturday and resting on Sunday, start running (even if just a few miles) on Sunday and move your rest day to Monday.

4. Increase interval training. 3-10 weeks of 800m or 2000m variations for example will build strength and speed.

5. Incorporate hills into the 2nd half of your training program. Train once a week on hills and include them in long run routes. If you don't have a lot of hills in your area run a loop or an out and back on a hill. Run comfortably hard on the uphill and relaxed on the downhill. Repeat. Parking ramps and/or tread mills can provide additional opportunities.

6. Decrease the taper period. Most marathon training programs call for up to a month of tapering. Half Marathon programs call for two to three weeks. You'll likely want to shorten the taper period to one to two weeks out from race weekend and keep your long run distance a bit higher.

7. Run/Walk/Run. Jeff Galloway, Official Training Consultant for the IMT Des Moines Marathon encourages running with scheduled walk breaks. His training programs have successfully trained hundreds of thousands of runners and walkers to cross the finish line with less fatigue and faster finisher times.

The IMT Des Moines Marathon offers Jeff Galloway Training Programs for the half marathon and marathon distance. Follow Jeff's programs or incorporate some of his run/walk/run ratios into your training program for a successful back-to-back race weekend.

Visit the IMT Des Moines Marathon website and click on Training for more information.

Training for Two Races in the Same Weekend

Take the challenge, the I-35 Challenge if you dare.  The Kansas City Sports Commission has teamed up with the IMT Des Moines Marathon to create the I-35 Challenge.  Runners can participate in the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon on Saturday, October 18 then drive north on I-35 and participate in the IMT Des Moines Marathon on Sunday, October 19. The races have been on the same weekend for eight years with Kansas City on Saturday and Des Moines on Sunday.

Participants have two running experiences to pick from.  They can run the full marathon in Kansas City and then the full marathon in Des Moines or they can run the half marathon in each city creating one full marathon.  Participants must first register for each event then register for the I-35 Challenge for a minimal fee of $20.  Everyone who registers for the I-35 Challenge will receive a special shirt in Kansas City and a special medal after crossing the finish line in Des Moines.  Participants will also wear a special bib at both races.  In addition to the special I-35 Challenge shirt and medal, participants will also receive a race shirt and medal for each race, which will add up to three shirts and three medals when the weekend ends.

But how to train?

The first thing you should do according to Jeff Galloway, Official Training Consultant for the IMT Des Moines Marathon, is prepare a strategy. Plan the weekend out in advance so you can limit surprises.

Establish your goal for the I-35 Challenge weekend. If this is the first time you are attempting to complete two races in two days, it may simply be to complete both races. Next, realize that it is okay to have separate objectives for each race if it will help you reach your goal. Jeff advises people participating in multi-race weekend events to incorporate walk breaks into the first race. "Many runners have recorded personal records in the marathon when they mostly walked on Saturday."

For more information on Jeff Galloway's run/walk/run training programs and ratios visit and click on Training.

You will want to be sure to increase hydration and fueling during training and race weekend. Make sure to reload carbohydrates and protein within 30-45 minutes of finishing the race on Saturday. Purchase items ahead of time and have them readily available for consumption in the car as you travel to Des Moines. Eat throughout the day and avoid fattier foods that will be difficult for the body to digest.

If you don't consume carbohydrates during races, you may want to consider incorporating it into your training this summer. Energy gels or chews can be a great way to fuel the body and replace low blood sugar levels. There are a variety of products and flavors on the market today. A general rule of thumb is 15 minutes before the start of the race and then every 45 minutes after. 

Registration is open for both events and the challenge. To register for the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon click here, to register for the IMT Des Moines Marathon click here and to register for the I-35 Challenge click here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I-35 Challenge

The I-35 Challenge is a partnership between the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon with Ivy Funds and the IMT Des Moines Marathon. The two events take place on the same weekend in October - Kansas City on Saturday (10/18) and Des Moines on Sunday (10/19). The goal of the challenge is to complete both races.

Participants can elect to either do BOTH marathons or BOTH half marathons in the same weekend and receive an I-35 Challenge shirt and finisher medal worthy of their accomplishment. Two cities. Two Races. 190 miles. One great weekend.


·         Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon with Ivy Funds

o   Saturday, October 18

o   7 a.m.

o   Click here for Race Day schedule

·         IMT Des Moines Marathon

o   Sunday, October 19

o   8 a.m.

o   Click here for Race Day information


You must register for BOTH Marathons or BOTH Half Marathons through each event website, as you normally would, and then complete an additional registration for the I-35 Challenge for $20.

Click here to register for KC

Click here to register for Des Moines

Click here to register for the I-35 Challenge


For completing either both Marathons or both Half Marathons, participants will receive the following:

·         Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon participant shirt

·         Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon finisher medal

·         IMT Des Moines Marathon participant shirt

·         IMT Des Moines Marathon finisher medal

·         I-35 Challenge participant shirt

·         I-35 Challenge finisher medal

Attend packet pick-up at each city’s expo to pick up your race materials as you normally would. The I-35 Challenge booth in Kansas City is where you will check in and pick up your I-35 Challenge shirt and participant bib. The I-35 Challenge booth in Des Moines is where you will check in and pick up your second I-35 Challenge participant bib. You will have separate bibs for the races – one for Saturday and one for Sunday. You will receive your I-35 Challenge finisher medal after crossing the finish line in Des Moines.

Expo Details

·         Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon with Ivy Funds Health & Fitness Expo

o   Location: Crown Center Exhibit Hall A

§  2323 McGee Street, Kansas City, MO 64108

§  (Connected to The Sheraton at the North end of Crown Center)

o   Thursday, October 16, 3–8 p.m.

o   Friday, October 17, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

o   Click here for more information about the expo

·         IMT Des Moines Marathon

o   Location: HyVee Hall

§  730 3rd Street, Des Moines, IA 50309

§  (Located in the Iowa Events Center)

o   Friday, October 17, 3–8 p.m.

o   Saturday, October 18, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

o   Click here for more information about the expo


1.       What are the options?

a.       Marathon Challenge:  Participants that register to run the Marathon in Kansas City and the Marathon in Des Moines.

b.      Half Marathon Challenge:  Participants that register to run the Half Marathon in Kansas City and the Half Marathon in Des Moines.


2.       Why can’t I do the Half Marathon and then the Marathon?

a.       The purpose of this challenge is to test participants and encourage an exclusive group of individuals wishing to push their limits and challenge themselves by running the same distance both days.

Click here to view all the FAQs for the I-35 Challenge.

More Information

Click here for more information about the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon with Ivy Funds.

Click here for more information about the IMT Des Moines Marathon.

Click here for the I-35 Challenge Facebook Page.

For additional questions, please email

Thursday, May 29, 2014

How to Fuel Yourself For a Succesful Race

Running in a race this weekend? Two to three days before the race is when you want to do the best you can to take care of your body to ensure a successful race day. Drink more fluids. Water will aid in turning carbs to glycogen. If race morning gets warm don't skip the water stations on the course. Your body will not only thank you later in the race but in the recovery days to follow.

Eat a good meal with a 3:1 carb/protein ratio. Avoid new foods and foods that are high in fat content. Believe it or not you want to try to avoid whole wheat pasta, breads, etc. and lots of salad items and veggies 24 hours before the race. The trick is to bring food sources into the body that can be easily transformed into fuel for race day. Too much or the wrong kind of fuel source can produce undesirable results. Try to reduce your intake of coffee, tea and alcohol in the days leading up to the race as well as they tend to dehydrate you. All of these things can be troublesome on race day.

Rest well in the nights leading up to the race. You likely will be anxious the night before race and if you are setting the alarm clock to wake up in the middle of the night your sleep pattern will suffer anyway. Try to get a good night sleep two to three nights before the race while you are able to and there are less distractions/demands on your mind.

Relax the day before. Run a mile or two to release nervous energy. Try to limit activities and deadlines. Don't rush through packet pickup and if at all possible stay off your feet. Set out your race supplies before you go to bed. It's one less thing to worry about before trying to fall asleep and one less thing once you wake up in the morning. Try to eat something light two hours before the race. Water, a bagel, banana, some granola and/or Greek yogurt are great options. Again, nothing new. If you take energy gels, consider taking your first energy gel 10-15 minutes before the start of the race.

Most importantly... don't forget to have fun. You've spent countless hours training for race day. The least you can do is try to enjoy it!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Running USA 2014

Attending Running USA national running industry conference. It is exciting to represent the IMT Des Moines Marathon. We have great things in store in 2014. Thank you for supporting the race!

Friday, June 7, 2013

National Running Day

Did you know that our nation recently celebrated National Running Day? Running in the United States is becoming more and more popular and my guess is that you are noticing it. From what was considered a man's sport some 40 years ago, running is attracting more than just the high school cross country or track standout these days. Woman are buying more running shoes and signing up for more races than men these days. Many of them are taking the family on vacation and spending hundreds of dollars at expos. Races today are more like events that provide destination experiences and platforms for fundraising and awareness than who can cross the finish line first competitions.

Running is following such a popular trend that even local events such as Dam to Dam, which has been around for more than 30 years, sells out in a number of days and the Living History Farms Cross Country Race in hours. Want to be a part of the Farms race? Don’t leave your computer when online registration opens. First time national events saw huge numbers of participants in Des Moines last year including more than 20, 000 in the Color Run and 12,000 in the Glow Run alone. Let alone mud and obstacles.

What may have been described as a cult sport some twenty years ago, running is now as main stream as it gets. Name a magazine advertisement or television commercial that focused on running. You probably can. Five years ago. No way. So what is causing the surge in popularity? For starters the sport is accessible at a time when many things in the daily grind are becoming less and less accessible. There is minimal equipment to buy. There aren't any membership requirements, rental fees or contracts to sign. And many runners start and finish their run from the front door. No getting stuck in traffic just trying o get to your workout.

Running provides opportunities to exercise control in a number of different ways. It provides an opportunity for goals and objectives to be met and set; a time for personal reflection, imagination, and the chance to sort out the day’s events. Running provides for the theater of competition. Personal improvement, self satisfaction, and enjoyment in a sport that offers many personal returns only add to the physical and well being benefits of regular exercise.

Perhaps it is the collective energy and spirit of those ideals that is making running so popular. More and more people are discovering the sport and celebrating it with others at running events from the church on the corner 5K to ultramarathons and 100 mile races. Des Moines was recently named the Outstanding Runner Friendly Community of the Year in 2012. If you seem to notice more people out running over the lunch hour or through the neighborhood on your commute home for work, perhaps instead of asking yourself what you think those people are thinking, you should ask yourself why aren’t you thinking like them.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Refueling With Chocolate Milk After a Long Run

What would you say if I told you that research suggests chocolate milk may restore and maintain hydration better than water or certain sports drinks?

Recently I attended the Road Runners Club of America national convention in Memphis, Tennessee. I sat in on a breakout session that featured information on nutrition and how it affects your body as you age and a session on the benefits of low fat chocolate milk and post run recovery. Both sessions touched on the importance of proper diet and nutrition but also highlighted running training programs as lifestyle choices and what kind of decisions we can during a training program to support the choices we make in our lives to live a healthy lifestyle.

Whether you are signed up for your next race or are maintaining a weekly base, these tips can be helpful in post run recovery and muscle building for your next work out.

Carbohydrates and proteins set the foundation for the athlete diet. Try to get them in natural food sources.  Avoid processed foods, foods with multiple ingredients and those you can't pronounce.  Avoid real food substitutes and quick fix promotions that seem 'to good to be true'.  Stick to the basics. Green vegetables, such as broccoli and peppers. Whole grain rice. Black beans. Chicken. Salmon/fish. Don't be afraid to use salt and pepper to season your food and replace lost sodium during your longer workouts or training runs on hot days.

How quickly you get carbs and protein back into your system after your workout is key too. Try to refuel within 45 minutes to 2 hours following your workout. The body will recover and will always take these nutrients, but studies show that more strenuous the workout, the more benefit you receive from immediate refueling. Especially if you plan another workout within the next day or two as opposed to just completing a marathon with immediate plans to back off running.

Unfortunately, after the age of 40 our muscle mass can begin to deteriorate.  Proper refueling after a run and during the week can aid with the essential rebuilding process of restoring glycogen reserves.  Try to get 90 grams of protein a day. Eat 3 meals a day or mini-meals throughout the day. 30 grams of protein 3x a day is better for the body than 90 grams at one time. Follow a 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. Carbohydrates are important for energy and will keep your body fueled during workouts. 

Now the fun stuff...did you know that scientific research has shown that low fat chocolate milk is your best bet when looking for a recovery drink?  Use products like Gatorade on the course and drink low fat chocolate milk after your workout. Chocolate milk offers high quality protein and key electrolytes like calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium (which are added to sports drinks). You will also find vitamin D to strengthen bones and reduce the risk of stress fractures and B vitamins for energy. Powdered chocolate milk works just as well.  Take it with you on your next work out and mix with water. Read the science at

Don't let your training stop when your workout ends. After a run, refuel and reload.